LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Buying alcohol on Sundays isn't something you can normally do in central Arkansas. Liquor stores are closed and bottles in grocery stores collect dust those days.
House Bill 1748, introduced by Representative David Whitaker of Washington County, would give local municipalities the option to put this in place.
"It really is just one little phrase added," Whitaker said. "It basically adds another avenue for voters to be able to get the question of Sunday liquor sales on their local ballot."
It may sound like a great idea and could lead to more revenue, but liquor store owners like Clark Trim of Colonial Wine and Spirits says it's actually the opposite.
"I don't see that it's going to benefit liquor stores. I don't see that there's going to be an increase in sales," Trim said. "I don't think we'll open on Sunday if it passes, and I say that very guardedly."
One of the big reasons Trim says he opposes the idea is the idea of repetition. We're all creatures of habit and when alcohol sales aren't allowed on Sundays, adding that as an available day won't change much.
It will change how much his business costs, he says.
"What it is gonna change is the amount of our operating expenses, payroll, utilities," Trim said. "Everything associated with the cost of doing business is going to increase by one-seventh."
Trim isn't the only one who isn't totally on board with the idea. John Crow of 107 Liquor also has his concerns.
"Personally, I like having a day off, so I'm not eager to open up on a Sunday," he said. "This would also alter the competitive playing field and benefit grocery stores more than liquor stores. There's not any upside for me, but I wouldn't feel right fighting against it."
That's another issue both owners have – they already compete with grocery stores already for their sales, and when those stores are already staffed on Sundays while liquor stores aren't, it's not very fair to them, they say.
"I understand it from a business man's point of view, those big box stores and grocery stores are already open," Trim said. "On the other hand, independent liquor stores don't have milk, bread, butter, and cheese to sell."
That's why Whitaker says he didn't want to introduce something that was statewide and lets local jurisdiction decide.
"If a proprietor feels like it's not worth their time and money to be open on a Sunday, nothing about this would require them to," Whitaker said. "Again, we're not talking about imposing Sunday sales on anyone."